THE Chancellor of the Exchequer has praised Winchester as a “great place to do business.”

Last Tuesday (February 12), council chiefs met George Osborne at 11 Downing Street, and he was quick to praise the city council.

“I think the council understands that Winchester’s future is about encouraging companies to invest, to create jobs and to foster innovation and skills.

“It’s a great place to do business,” he said.

Deputy leader of the city council, Councillor Rob Humby, was joined at the meeting by Alison Woods, the city’s economy and arts development manager, and Eloise Appleby, assistant director for economic prosperity.

Cllr Humby said: “We are proud that George Osborne described Winchester as an exciting local council which understands the needs of local businesses. Winchester City Council is aiming to put business first in the coming years.

“The District is performing well in these difficult times, but we will not rest on our laurels. We don’t simply want to be the place where people come once for planning permission, a parking permit or a premises licence: we want to be a supportive partner throughout the life cycle of their business.”

The chancellor had just returned from talks in Brussels before he was due to visit Eastleigh to campaign for the bi-election.

During the visit Mr Osborne was filmed delivering an address to Winchester’s business leaders in which he said the city had Winchester film-maker Toby Robinson, 21, of Western Road, was called upon to produce the video.

“I was honoured to do it. I wasn’t nervous at first but once we got there and we were waiting for the chancellor the nerves kicked in,” he said.

The film was shown at the council-run Business in the 21st Century conference at Intech on Thursday (February 14).